Choose Your Own Father
Choose Your Own Father
Choose Your Own Father is an essay film that derives from extensive archival research into John Latham’s early history in Zambia, describing personal histories of Latham’s father and interweaving these with those of the filmmaker’s own father. John Latham (1921 – 2006) was a Northern-Rhodesian born British conceptual artist. His father, Geoffrey Latham, was a colonial administrator who was instrumental in implementing the Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment. Under this program silent educational films were produced and screened to ‘native’ people via mobile cinemas in the British territories in East and Central Africa. It signaled the British Empire embracing soft power and indirect rule in late colonial period. The filmmaker’s own father, Muhammad Jan Leghari, comes from a Baloch tribe that was nomadic till a generation ago. His own military career has continued with this itinerant way of being. The film considers the nature of taking influence from another and the problem of attributing origins. Ultimately, I use the figure of the father as a metaphor to speak about paternalistic order, the fantasy of “The West”, myths of origin and whether one can ever be free to choose one’s own fathers.
Madyha J. Leghari (b. 1991) is a visual artist, writer and educator based in Lahore. She pursued a BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore (2013) and an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (2018) on a Fulbright Scholarship. Her practice often revolves around 'silences created by the failures of language'. Madyha has been the recipient of the Vasl Writing Mentorship 2021; Mantiq of the Mantis Artist Residency 2021; Mansion Artist Residency; Delta Research Placement at the Flat Time House; Siena Art Institute Artist Residency; Massachusetts College of Art Teaching Residency (upcoming, postponed) and the Murree Museum residency. Madyha has shown her works internationally in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom. Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, India, Pakistan, Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Guatemala. Madyha writes on art for a number of publications including ArtNow Pakistan and the Dawn Newspaper. She has also been teaching at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston and the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.